It’s Friday afternoon and time for a bit of reading to keep you in a reflective mood ahead of the weekend.
Here’s what we’ve been reading this week….
From around the web
No One Needs Your PR Digital Transformation – While this piece from CDO Trends doesn’t contain any earth-shattering revelations about digital transformation, it’s nevertheless a neat exploration of the difference between bona fide transformation that achieves real goals and what the author calls ‘PR digital transformation’ – the kind that’s carried out to stay “tech buzzword compliant”, but doesn’t hold up when something like the coronavirus crisis comes along.
Location-tracking companies were under fire from privacy advocates, but now officials are using them to monitor populations as the economy reopens – Companies such as Foursquare are providing data to officials to track population movements. Sam Schechner writes for the Wall Street Journal that “Officials are desperate for all types of data to identify people potentially infected with the virus and to understand how they are behaving to predict potential hot spots – whether those people realize it or not. That is giving data collection companies a chance to revive their batter public image.”
Instagram ‘will overtake Twitter as a news source’ – This article from the BBC draws on new figures from the latest Reuters Digital News Report, published earlier this month. Its research revealed that, across all age groups, the use of Instagram to access news content has doubled since 2008. The Facebook-owned image-sharing platform is now set to overtake Twitter for this purpose within the next 12 months, despite the latter’s format lending itself more naturally to breaking news. Data also found that one third of all Instagram users claim to have had used it to read news updates on the coronavirus so far, rising to two thirds of those aged under 25, despite concerns over the trustworthiness of reporting via social media vs other sources.
The History of Search Engines – This is an interesting tour through the key events in the history of search from the beginning of the World Wide Web, and highlights some little-known facts such as the fact that the first true web search engine was Aliweb in 1993, and the fact that Robin Li, the co-founder of Baidu, patented a ranking algorithm (RankDex) that predated – and helped inspire – Google’s PageRank. It also contains a cogent look at why Yahoo! failed, why a disastrous rebrand kept Microsoft out of the search game, and why search engines like Yandex and Baidu have outperformed Google in their home markets.
How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou – As well as explaining what factors recommendations are based on, this TikTok blog post explains how the platform aims to interrupt repetitive patterns, diversify recommendations and continue to improve its system.
How the Walmart-Shopify alliance helps both companies win against Amazon – Shopify seems to be everywhere these days, and its latest big news is a partnership with Walmart that lets selected merchants offer their products on Walmart’s marketplace. Modern Retail’s Cale Guthrie Weissman looks at the advantages for both parties and why the partnership could finally spark interest in Walmart’s lacklustre marketplace.
GDPR: what have we learned so far and where is data protection law going? – There was justifiable apprehension as GDPR’s introduction approached, not to mention plenty of blind panic as the clock ticked down. However, two years down the line we now have plenty of research which tells a more positive story.
Marketing and Machines – This three-part podcast, sponsored by Facebook, investigates the impact AI has on marketing, creativity and digital. Ep 1 features insights from Inés Ures, CMO at Deliveroo.
That’s it. Hope you’re all keeping well and can join us next week at our free breakfast briefing (featuring speakers from Spotify and Simply Business).